NFL OFFSEASON ANALYSIS – NFC EAST

The NFC East has been a two horse race for the last few years, and it doesn’t seem like that will change in 2020. The Cowboys had arguably the best offseason in the NFL, while the Eagles made a few improvements of their own. However, for the Giants and Redskins, while they may be out of contention now, their futures seem very bright behind their relatively young and talented cores. Here is a look at each team’s offseason movements and how those moves translate into their respective trajectories.

* = 2020 Draft Selection

DALLAS COWBOYS

NOTABLE ADDITIONS: Amari Cooper (WR, retained), Ha-Ha Clinton Dix (S), Gerald Mccoy (DT), Greg Zurlein (K), Cameron Erving (OT), Dontari Poe (DT), Aldon Smith (OLB), Daryl Worley (CB), Andy Dalton (QB), Cee Dee Lamb* (WR), Trevon Diggs* (CB), Neville Gallimore* (DT), Tyler Biadasz* (C), Bradlee Anae* (DE), Reggie Robinson* (CB)

DRAFT GRADE: A+

FOG FAVORITE ADDITIONS: The Cowboys added five different prospects that could start in Year 1 through the draft. Cee Dee Lamb is the obvious star of the class, but there is so much more. They considered filling their need at CB in the first round with a perfect fit in Trevon Diggs, but he ended up falling to them at #51 instead. Gallimore gives them another athletic piece up front who will learn from veterans Mccoy and Poe, I see him being a large piece of their defense as we move forward. With the retirement of Travis Frederick, they went out and replaced him in the 4th round with another Badger, Tyler Biadasz. Biadasz is a very sound run-blocker who started 2019 as a first round prospect but dropped due to some pass-pro concerns in 2019, so there is a ton of value there. Lastly, Bradlee Anae, an ultra productive pass rusher out of Utah who slipped due to a lack of ‘special traits,’ provides them with a possible day 1 impact player off the edge in Round 5.

Aside from the draft, Dallas added a few key veterans in FA. They quietly filled their hole at safety with Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, and I love him roaming the backend of their defense with his elite range. Gerald Mccoy’s reputation on the DL speaks for itself, Daryl Worley could be the teams best outside CB in 2020, and everyone forgets the immense value of having a kicker during the offseason but Greg ‘The Leg’ Zurlein has proven to be an invaluable offensive weapon. I love the Andy Dalton signing, as it provides their QB room valuable experience, lights a fire under Dak, and could possibly be newfound leverage for Jerry Jones in Dak’s ongoing contract dispute. Lastly, Aldon Smith is a name from the past, but his possible resurrection from the streets to a pass rusher again is intriguing to say the least.

NOTABLE SUBTRACTIONS: Byron Jones (CB), Randall Cobb (WR), Robert Quinn (DE), Jeff Heath (S), Jason Witten (TE), Maliek Collins (DT)

SMARTEST SUBTRACTION: They let the washed-up pair of Cobb and Witten walk and end up replacing their combined slot production with Cee Dee Lamb. Obviously, this is a massive upgrade in the middle of the field for Dak. I also commend Jerry for letting Quinn walk after a very productive 2019 season, and he was rewarded with Bradlee Anae falling into his lap in the 5th round.

FUTURE FORECAST: With the Jason Garrett era finally over, Mike McCarthy steps in as head honcho in Dallas. I was never that impressed with McCarthy, as I attribute a lot of his success in GB to Rodgers. However, I always respected his administrative/leadership abilities in GB, and that was something Garret struggled with. Therefore, behind an extremely impressive offseason, expectations couldn’t be higher for Dallas in 2020. Their roster is littered with talent from top to bottom, and the hope is that the highly touted addition of Cee Dee Lamb takes Dak and their offense to the next level. While they have the talent, it will be interesting to see if McCarthy/Kellen Moore push the right buttons at the right time, something Garrett struggled with at times. If the offense’s true potential comes to fruition, look for this team to finally take the next step into the playoffs, and possibly further, in 2020.

2020 RECORD PROJECTION: 11-5 (OVER 9.5)

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

NOTABLE ADDITIONS: Darius Slay (CB), Nickell Robey-Coleman (CB), Marquise Goodwin (WR), Javon Hargrave (DT), Jatavis Brown (ILB), Jalen Reagor* (WR), Jalen Hurts* (QB), K’Von Wallace* (S), Davion Taylor* (OLB), Quez Watkins* (WR)

DRAFT GRADE: B

FOG FAVORITE ADDITIONS: GM Howie Roseman took advantage of a disgruntled Darius Slay in Detroit, trading a 2020 3rd and 5th round pick for his services. In other words, they traded two mid-round picks for a premium cover corner, a position that is invaluable in the modern NFL. Roseman also picked up a productive CB in Nickell Robey-Coleman, a cap casualty in LA, and the track star deep threat Marquise Goodwin in a trade from SF, both of whom are yet to play their best football. On draft day, Roseman went into the draft looking for a WR in R1, and came away with a prolific weapon in Jalen Reagor. The public saw Reagor as a one dimensional speed receiver with limited size, and many criticized this pick. However, I, and evidently Roseman, view Reagor as an extremely versatile offensive weapon who plays bigger than his size, taking the top off of the defense while also having the ability to go up and high point the ball in the red zone. In R3, Roseman took Clemson DB K’Von Wallace, who will be counted on to fill Malcom Jenkins’ shoes in their backend. I really like how he fits in Jim Schwartz defensive scheme, as Wallace has great tenacity and range from the safety position.

NOTABLE SUBTRACTIONS: Malcom Jenkins (S), Jason Peters (OT), Nigel Braham (OLB), Tim Jernigan (DT), Ronald Darby (CB), Zach Brown (OLB), Orlando Scandrick (CB)

SMARTEST SUBTRACTION: There was no need to resign 38-year old Jason Peters, as Howie Roseman planned ahead perfectly with Andre Dillard as their Round 1 selection in 2019 out of Washington State.

FUTURE FORECAST: While there was a signficant amount of attrition on this roster, the only real loss I see is Malcom Jenkins. Safety, along with the linebacking group as a whole, are the only deficiencies that remain on the roster. In fact, Roseman even addressed. the backup QB position by surprisingly drafting Jalen Hurts in the 2nd round. While many Eagles fans heavily criticized this pick, Roseman has been rewarded for his investment in backup QBs before, and Wentz has shown that he can’t be counted on to play all 16 games. However, Hurts will not simply be the backup QB, as Doug Pederson will have a lot of fun creating packages that utilize his special skillset. Therefore, I see a lot of value in that pick. Aside from Hurts, Roseman added two dangerous deep threats for Wentz to launch to down the field, something they clearly lacked last season. If he is able to stay healthy, this offense should be as high powered as ever in 2020. While Dallas may have the more complete roster, I still favor Wentz over Dak in a close game, so I see the division as a toss up between the two young signal callers in 2020 and beyond.

2020 RECORD PROJECTION: 9-7 (UNDER 9)

NEW YORK GIANTS

NOTABLE ADDITIONS: James Bradberry (CB), Blake Martinez (LB), Dion Lewis (RB), Kyler Fackrell (LB), Corey Coleman (WR), Levine Toilolo (TE), Andrew Thomas* (OT), Xavier McKinney* (S), Matt Peart* (OT), Darnay Holmes* (CB), Shane Lemieux* (G), Cameron Brown* (LB), Binjimen Victor (WR-UDFA)

DRAFT GRADE: B+

FOG FAVORITE ADDITIONS: The Giants were desperate for a ball chasing, high volume tackling linebacker and found one in FA with Blake Martinez. He led the Packers with 155 total tackles in 2019, and I expect that volume to continue in New York, especially with Ogletree’s departure. In the draft, Gettleman was able to add lots of talent, but no selection held more value than Darnay Holmes in the 4th round. A former 5 star recruit, Holmes lacks ideal size and struggled in 2019 at UCLA, but still possesses the necessary ball skills and quickness to be an immediate asset at Nickel-back.

NOTABLE SUBTRACTIONS: Eli Manning (QB), Markus Golden (EDGE), Antoine Bethea (S), Alec Ogletree (LB), Mike Remmers (OT), Cody Latimer (WR), Deandre Baker (CB-?)

SMARTEST SUBTRACTION: Alec Ogletree was highly touted out of UGA, but his NFL career has fallen short of expectations. With Blake Martinez in the fold, his release became inevitable, clearing $8.25M in cap space.

FUTURE FORECAST: Dave Gettleman went to work this offseason, adding a few quality starters on the defense in FA as well as a talented draft haul. His haul is highlighted by Andrew Thomas, who Gettleman decided was the safest of the top four OTs. This “safeness” comes from his impressive length, sturdy anchor, and overall film against top SEC pass rushers. Snagging Xavier McKinney at the top of R2 was a much needed addition on the backend for the defense, but I don’t agree with the overall consensus that he was a massive value pick there. He still has a lot of work to do in terms of his coverage abilities at the next level, but his plus athleticism and versatility as a pass rusher off the edge is definitely intriguing. In the end, Gettleman addressed the priority, protecting Daniel Jones and providing Saquon more space to run, while also adding a few value picks late (Holmes, Lemieux). As a result, the Giants offense is much improved on paper and should put up a lot more points this year, dependent on Daniel Jones’ development under Jason Garrett. However, even if the offense takes a step up, I see too many blatant holes on the defensive side to endure through in a suddenly very tough NFC East. Especially with the recent arrest of Deandre Baker, the Giants are going to surrender a lot of points in 2020 due to clear deficiencies in the secondary and front seven. However, their future looks bright if Daniel Jones is able to build off of his successes in 2019, as their running game will continue to ascend with the improved offensive front.

2020 RECORD PROJECTION: 3-13 (UNDER 5.5)

WASHINGTON REDSKINS

NOTABLE ADDITIONS: Kendall Fuller (CB), Wes Schweitzer (G), Thomas Davis (LB), Ronald Darby (CB), Kyle Allen (QB), Aaron Colvin (CB), Cody Latimer (WR), J.D. McKissic (RB), Sean Davis (FS), Kevin Pierre-Louis (OLB), Chase Young* (EDGE), Antonio Gibson* (RB), Saahdiq Charles* (OT), Antonio Gandy-Golden* (WR), Khaleke Hudson* (LB), Thaddeus Moss (TE-UDFA), Steven Montez (QB-UDFA)

DRAFT GRADE: A-

FOG FAVORITE ADDITION: While they added several difference makers on defense, my favorite addition of all was their selection of Antonio Gandy-Golden in the 4th round. He flew under the radar at Liberty, but his tape shows a unique and valuable combination of size, strength, and catch radius. These traits are crucial for any ‘X’ receiver, and while he fell due to his underwhelming 40 time and overall quickness, I see his skillset being a perfect compliment to Terry Mclaurin’s wiggle/twitch in the slot. Gandy-Golden was an absolute steal in the 4th round, and will be a great red zone target for Haskins in DC.

NOTABLE SUBTRACTIONS: Trent Williams (LT), Josh Norman (CB), Quinton Dunbar (CB), Jordan Reed (WR), Paul Richardson (WR), Monate Nicholson (S), Kayvon Webster (CB), Coty Sensabaugh (CB)

SMARTEST SUBTRACTIONS: Josh Norman, who was once thought of as a premier lock down corner, posted an abysmal 43.4 coverage rating in 2019 according to PFF. Therefore, his release became a no brainer, saving the Skins $12.4M in cap space.

FUTURE FORECAST: Washington has invested their last four first round picks in their defensive front, and with the last one being a generational talent in Chase Young, this impressive unit will look to put their true potential on display in 2020. In my eyes, Chase Young was the perfect piece to finish off their ferocious front, and I expect everyone to benefit from his special talent and the attention he demands from the offense’s protective scheme. On offense, it all starts with second year QB Dwayne Haskins. Will he be able to take the next step with COVID-19 compromising much of his offseason? Only time will tell, but under a completely new coaching staff, it won’t be easy. He showed flashes of greatness in 2019, but he also showed many lapses of judgement and overall consistency in his play. That being said, he is still extremely young with limited starts at QB under his belt (14 total starts at OSU), which bodes well for projecting his development. If the Redskins can be patient with him, I see his overall skillset allowing him to be a productive QB of the future in DC. While Kyle Allen played well at times in 2019, I see Haskins’ potential as substantially higher, and I think that allows him to hold onto the starting job going into 2020 and beyond. Look for this team to establish themselves as a future force with their plethora of young talent on the D line and continued development of the Haskins-Mclaurin connection.

2020 RECORD PROJECTION: 5-11 (UNDER 5.5)

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